Rift Hitting Its Stride in F2P
ByDate: Jul 02 2013 Views:
It seems an eon ago that Rift first came out. Of course, we are speaking about Internet Land and the fact that the passage of a week seems an eternity as well. Still, it's hard to believe that Trion Worlds' inaugural title is already two years old and counting. Many of us who are rabid MMO players watched eagerly as Rift came down the path to release and pre-ordered our copy of the game and ponied up for the monthly subscription.
And we weren't disappointed either. Rift was a terrific game that was much more polished and interesting than even most jaded players expected. There was something exciting and shiny about the whole idea of rifts and zone invasions that Trion Worlds did extremely well. It was great fun to log in on a daily basis and play the heck out of our first characters and most of us did so religiously until hitting the level cap. It was there that we discovered Rift's shortcoming: There wasn't enough to do at the top end unless players were part of a very active raiding group. Sure, there were artifacts to collect and places to explore and PvP to partake in but still, it wasn't enough.
It seemed that within three to six months, most servers were ghost towns and it didn't take long for server mergers to start happening. Granted, that's not always a bad thing, but it's also usually symptomatic of players leaving the game for the ever-increasingly broad greener pastures that had come along, many of them subscription-free. While Rift proudly billed itself (and still does) as something of a World of Warcraft killer, the staying power and longevity that it manifest as a subscription revenue model title simply didn't happen.
There is no denying that the Rift team did much to make the game better for end-game players and to keep the content fresh by adding new zones and Chronicles and dimensions, among other things. But in many ways, it was simply too little, too late for many players. Guilds became vacant and server chats remained largely silent for a long while, though the core base of players maintained its stubborn determination to keep spreading the good word about Rift. Perhaps much of what has transpired of late is due to their love of the game and the sheer will to see it survive, regardless of the shift in the revenue model.
It was with great fanfare that the Trion team announced that Rift would be going free-to-play in mid-2013 and many former players looked on the transition as a sign that a good and decent game was headed the way of so many others and in less time than many would have ever imagined.
Contrary to that opinion however, Trion boasted that the game would ultimately go free to play without restrictions and that nothing in the game would be unattainable by those who choose never to place a dime into it.